The Birds of Aristophanes considered in relation to Athenian politics

The Birds of Aristophanes considered in relation to Athenian politics

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Ha*^! Digitized by the Internet Archive in 2007 with funding from IVIicrosoft Corporation http://www.archive.org/details/birdsofaristophaOOharmrich THE BIRDS OF ARISTOPHANES UNIFORM WITH THIS VOLUME By Edward George Harman 'THE PROMETHEUS BOUND ' OF AESCHYLUS Represented in English and Explained 10s. 6d. net LONDON: EDWARD ARNOLD BY THE SAME AUTHOR POEMS. Crown 8vo, 6s. net LONDON: EDWARD ARNOLD THE BIRDS OF ARISTOPHANES CONSIDERED IN RELATION TO ATHENIAN POLITICS BY EDWARD HARMANGEORGE LONDON EDWARD ARNOLD 1920 [All rights retcrved] PREFACE In the preface to my translation of the Promeihetcs Bound of Aeschylus, which is appearing concurrently with this volume, I explained the purpose of the present volume, which is to establish by a historical inquiry the truth of the theory as to the meaning of that play which suggested itself to me in the course of translating it, and to show that it supphes the key to the meaning of the Birds of Aristophanes. commonly supposed the Prometheus Bound isIt is that metaphysical problem, and that the Birdsconcerned with a nothing in particular.is a work of fancy meaning But the work in In spiritualgenius of the Greeks did not that way.

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Ha*^!Digitized by the Internet Archive
in 2007 with funding from
IVIicrosoft Corporation
http://www.archive.org/details/birdsofaristophaOOharmrichTHE BIRDS OF ARISTOPHANESUNIFORM WITH THIS VOLUME
By Edward George Harman
'THE PROMETHEUS BOUND ' OF AESCHYLUS
Represented in English and Explained
10s. 6d. net
LONDON: EDWARD ARNOLD
BY THE SAME AUTHOR
POEMS. Crown 8vo, 6s. net
LONDON: EDWARD ARNOLDTHE BIRDS
OF ARISTOPHANES
CONSIDERED IN RELATION TO
ATHENIAN POLITICS
BY
EDWARD HARMANGEORGE
LONDON
EDWARD ARNOLD
1920
[All rights retcrved]PREFACE
In the preface to my translation of the Promeihetcs Bound
of Aeschylus, which is appearing concurrently with this
volume, I explained the purpose of the present volume,
which is to establish by a historical inquiry the truth of the
theory as to the meaning of that play which suggested itself
to me in the course of translating it, and to show that it
supphes the key to the meaning of the Birds of Aristophanes.
commonly supposed the Prometheus Bound isIt is that
metaphysical problem, and that the Birdsconcerned with a
nothing in particular.is a work of fancy meaning But the
work in In spiritualgenius of the Greeks did not that way.
where, amongdevelopment they were still primitive, and
worlds, withthe moderns, imagination goes out to other
world in which theythem it sought its material in the actual
which mostlived, and especially in that province of it
their city,affected their daily lives, namely, the affairs of
Hencewhich for them was coterminous with the state.
to seek a political meaning in these two great works of
'imagination, far from being far-fetched,' as some may be
inchned to suppose, is the most natural course to take, and
the one most likely to lead to a right result. The reader
will, no doubt, find, as I did mj^elf, that this involves the
li dropping of some traditional ideas, but let him candidly
examine the evidence which I have endeavoured to place
him, and think he will find that, so far from pro-before I
disillusionment, result will provide him with aducing the
greatly enhanced interest the work of these two writers.in
literary criticism has beenIt is my humble opinion that
437120VI THE BIRDS
too much concerned with literature and not enough with
history whereas the one cannot be properly understood;
except in the light of the other. It is for this reason that I
have supplied a historical sketch, from which the circum-
stances which led to the production of these two plays at
a given point of time may be realised and weighed in their
bearings on them. A great work of art does not take its
origin out of nothing.
The theory meaning Prometheus Boundas to the of the
which is briefly,developed in the companion volume is,
that the play, like all the other surviving works of Aeschylus,
politicalis in character and concerned with the author*s
own fortunes and his relations towith the new democracy,
like becomewhich, most ofthe leadingmen of Athens, he had
' 'obnoxious that under the Zeus of the play the tyrant;
Demos is depicted, newly estabHshed in power, foolish,
capricious, passionate and irresistible ; that under the
himself,character of Prometheus the author has portrayed
leader inprobably with some reference to Aristides, the
the state for whom he had the greatest admiration ; and
Birds,that to this allegory we owe the in which what I have
' ' mycalled the Zeus analogy again appears, and is, in
opinion, the key to its meaning.
Among the works consulted I am more particularly in-
debted to the History Greece by Professor J. B. Bury,of
although I have frequently found myself in disagreement
translationwith expressions of opinion in it ; to the English
Greece,of the German work of Adolf Holm {History of
Thevol. ii.) ; to the History Greece by Grote toof ;
notesTragic Drama the Greeks by A. E. Haigh ; to theof
Athensby Dr. Sandys on the Aristotelian Constitution of ;
extractsand to various other writers and editors. The
thosefrom Thucydides are taken from Jowett's translation ;
Dryden, revised byfrom Plutarch from the translations by